Melbourne, Feb.26 : A prestigious private school in Brisbane has decided that it will not allow turban-wearing Sikh students into its premises.
Responding to claims of religious discrimination after refusing entry to a 12-year-old Sikh student because he was wearing a turban, Brisbane's Ormiston College admitted to ordering the boy to cut his hair and remove his turban as a condition of entry.
The boy's parents lodged a complaint with the Anti-Discrimination Commission in Queensland.
"The complaint is the college discriminated against the child by placing conditions on his enrolment that he was unable to comply with because of his religion," The Australian quoted family solicitor Scott McDougall, as saying.
Principal Brett Webster said the school respected the boy's religious beliefs, but would not change its rules.
"We're certainly not asking the family or the boy to turn their back on their religion. But the question is should the school, should every organisation, change its standard policies every time somebody comes along with a different set of beliefs? Asked Webster.
The boy has since been enrolled in another school.
Australian Sikh Association spokesman Tejpal Singh yesterday told The Australian that the 50,000-strong community was outraged at the demands on the student to break the religion's ancient code.
Dr Singh said the family would have risked excommunication if they had agreed.
"What this school is doing is asking this family to break two of the cardinal tenets of our faith, which is we cannot remove our turbans or cut our hair.
With 7000-dollar-a-year in fees Ormiston College is a co-educational and non-denominational school, which says on its website that it "affirms individual differences and actively promotes cultural and intellectual understanding".
The school, which has almost 550 students, is on the coastal outskirts of Brisbane.